Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about Bright Eyes, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton, Natasha Bedingfield and RIAA certifications.
BRIGHT EYES' BRIGHT FUTURE
How come I've been reading all over the news about the "Hot Shot Debuts" and "Top Spot Taking" of Bright Eyes' two new singles, yet nowhere do I see the songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart? Did they rise and fall quickly?
You don't see them because you are looking at the wrong chart. Bright Eyes' "Lua" and "Take It Easy (Love Nothing)" reached No. 1 and No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart in the Nov. 13 issue of the magazine.
You were most likely looking at the Billboard Hot 100, which combines sales and airplay. The Hot 100 Singles Sales chart is a separate listing of the top selling commercially released singles in the United States.
To date, "Lua" and "Take It Easy" have each sold about 10,000 units according to Nielsen SoundScan.
A band based around singer/songwriter Conor Oberst, Bright Eyes was recently featured on MTV and MTV2's "All Things Rock," and profiled with Jack White in a hefty Los Angeles Times article. Bright Eyes also played the Vote For Change tour in October, sharing dates with Bruce Springsteen, John Fogerty and R.E.M. All of this activity fueled sales of the singles and thus the high chart peaks.
The act's last full-length album, "Lifted or the Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground" (Saddle Creek), bowed in August 2002 and has sold 179,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Bright Eyes has built a fanbase over the past few years through touring, critical praise, support at MTV2 and scattered radio play, including heavy spins of selected tracks at KDLD Los Angeles, CIMX Detroit, WOXY Cincinnati and WFNX Boston.
"Lua" and "Take It Easy" are the lead singles from Bright Eyes' forthcoming albums "I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning" and "Digital Ash In a Digital Urn," both due out Jan. 25 via Saddle Creek. As previously reported  on Billboard.com, Oberst will launch two separate tours to support the albums.
LOOKING FOR SPICE
Does Virgin-EMI have any plans to release Geri Halliwell's new single, "Ride It," in the United States? This, in my opinion, is the best dance/pop song since Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head."
Also, any word yet on when we might see a U.S. release of Emma Bunton's "Free Me" and Natasha Bedingfield's debut CD?
Currently, there are no announced plans to release any product from Geri Halliwell or Natasha Bedingfield in the United States.
Halliwell's "Ride It" debuted at No. 4 on the official U.K. Singles Chart this week. It is taken from her forthcoming new studio album, which will be out in early 2005 in the United Kingdom.
Emma Bunton, a former Spice Girl along with Halliwell, will release her U.S. debut album on Jan. 25. Titled "Free Me," the set will be issued through 19 Recordings. The album features the title track, which reached No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart.
HOW TO STRIKE GOLD
I was wondering, is it true that an album can sell almost 500,000 and not be certified gold if the label does not certify it? I am hearing that Kandi's "Hey Kandi," which was released in 2000 and spawned the hit "Don't Think I'm Not," has sold about 400,000 worldwide. But it is not certified gold because Columbia, who released the album, has not yet applied to have it certified. Is this true?
Gold and platinum certifications and requirements vary from country to country. In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the body that runs the certification program, under which it verifies shipments of albums and singles to U.S. retailers. Certifications are not automatic, however, and must be requested and paid for by an artist's recording labels or their management.
The RIAA certifies albums gold for shipments of 500,000 units to U.S. retailers, platinum for 1 million copies and diamond for 10 million. To date, Kandi's album has sold 198,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. She's still a good deal away from a gold certification.
For more information on the RIAA's certification program, visit the organization's Web site at www.riaa.com .
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